Green Carnation + Cruel Humanity
Wed 15th June, 2005
The Underworld, London, UK
Norwegian Prog-Metallers make their London Debut
Once again there was a poor turnout for yet another quality prog band playing the capital
as part of a low-key UK tour. Only around 100 people including the bands is disappointing
for a class act like Green Carnation, but the Norwegianís profile over here is rather low
and as they are on the smallish French label Seasons of Mist, that situation seems unlikely
to change without the band getting out there and playing.
I was intending to miss both the opening band Desolation and Derby-based Black
Metallers Cruel Humanity, but the latter were still onstage when I arrived. Rather
than playing the shrieky, blast-beat powered old school variety of Black Metal, I was
pleasntly surprised to see that firstly the four-piece included a keyboard player and
that secondly their style of ĎBlack Metalí was quite progressive in nature and much more
melodic than I had been expecting. The Death Metal vocals were not so prominent as to distract
too much from the music that certainly seem worthy of further attention. Iíll definitely
consider checking them out, next time that they play locally.
The disadvantage of 3-band bills is that the length of headlinerís set is also shortened,
so I was getting worried when the clock reached 21:30 and the headliners still hadnít appeared.
Fortunately the changeover between bands did not take too long we did not have to wait much
longer for the six-piece to take to the stage.
With a lineup that includes the ex-bassist of Black Metal legends Emperor (on guitar)
and a heritage that includes cult band In The Woods, the members of Green Carnation have
an eclectic background, which shows in their music, which is decidedly progressive in nature,
encompassing all manner of shades of light and dark and composition varying in length from 4
to 60 minutes. Besides the more obvious influences, I also hear a heavy dose of 1970s King
Crimson in their music, particularly in the lighter songs and in some of the keyboard textures.
The opened strongly with Crushed to Dust the vocals being shared
between bassist Stein Roger Sordal and main vocalist Kjetil Nordhus. I was delighted as they
continued with Just When You Think It's Safe, one of my favourite tunes
from the bandís most recent album The Quiet Offspring. It sounded louder and much heavier being played live,
but fortunately the soundman managed to find the correct volume controls in time for us to hear
the rich organ tones of Kenneth Sildenís solo. There was also an excellent, if slightly showy
solo from Michael Krumins, who was much more prominent throughout the show than his more
famous fellow guitarist.
Kjetil, most recently seen here in London as the vocalist for Trail of Tears, welcomed
the crowd and announced that it was the first time that the band had played the UK (not strictly
true as the band did play in Dublin, during May 2004) and the set continued with Myron & Cole.
Most of the material came from the bandís last two albums with Rain and Lullaby in Winter
representing A Blessing In
Disguise and The Quiet Offspring being represented in the form of the title track and the
sensational Everlasting Moment, though Dead But Dreaming was slightly spoilt by some
However the crowd was not going to allow them to leave without playing something from their
concept masterpiece Light of Day, Day of Darkness, but this does present the band with something of
a dilemma as the album consists of a single 60 minute piece of music. Whilst most of us present
would, Iím sure, loved to have heard the entire album, compromises must be made and we were treated
instead, to a lengthy section of the piece. Kjetil apologized, "Sorry itís not the whole thing,
but itís a good piece of it", but even so, the 25 minutes or so that were played were sufficient
to satisfy the crowd who cheered loudly as the song came to an end. The selection of pieces that
were played gave everybody in the band an opportunity to shine, particularly during the instrumental
passages, where the keyboards of Kenneth Silden dueled impressively with Michael Krumins guitar.
Also worthy of comment with Kjetilís excellent vocals and the fine backing vocals supplied by Stein
Roger Sordal amongst others and the drumming of Tommy Jackson. By contrast, Tchort seemed content
to stay out of the limelight.
While I might have liked the sound to have been a little better balanced, I still left the venue
feeling very impressed by what I had seen and heard and Iím now very much looking forward to the
bandís appearance at Progpower Europe in early October.
Crushed to Dust
Just when you think its safe
Myron & Cole
The Quiet Offspring
Lullaby of Winter
The Everlasting Moment
Dead but Dreaming
Light of Day/Day of Darkness